4 NOVEMBER 1972, Page 15

Museum charges

Sir: I read with interest in your number of October 14 the article by Andrew Faulds on museum admission charges. This is a matter which cannot leave foreign visitors to England indifferent. It is, of course, a privilege for one who is not a British taxpayer to be admtted free of charge to the great museums. This is much appreciated as a token of hospitality, and I do not have the impression that there is a resulting loss of income for the nation — when I visit England I spend what

I can afford, and I suppose others do the same. Even the museum is not such a great loser, as the visitors spend more on postcards, booklets, and reproductions than they would do if they had to pay an entrance fee.

As things are now, I can enter the National Galley for short and repeated visits just to see the Flemish primitives, or on another day the Italians, whilst if I had to pay I would try to get in as much as I could and would get a surfeit of painting. A maxim to be considered to ease the finances of these institutions would be to place a box in the entrance where people could deposit gifts. People gladly give when they have the means and are satisfied. It could be mentioned that gifts will not be used for current expenses but for the increase of the patrimony.

If fees have to be paid, provision should be made for repeated visits. The possibility might also be offered of getting into closer connection with a museum by subscribing to some publication, or as a " friend of the museum."

P. H. Hasten 74 Potterierei, B,800 Bruges, Belgium